Africa is a beautiful and captivating continent that is not always the first that comes to mind when one thinks of luxury tourism, especially the more refined offerings aimed at the luxury-orientated traveller. However, tourism in Africa has shown steady growth in recent years and 300 million international tourist arrivals were recorded in the months of July and August 2017, which was a new record and demonstrates that there is reason to feel positive for the African tourist industry.
These increases have largely been fuelled by a growing number of European and American tourists, as well as the continent becoming increasingly attractive to Chinese tourists following on from visa restrictions being relaxed and initiatives setup to appeal to them directly.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise; especially as Chinese travellers are the world’s top tourism spenders and spent £260 billion in 2017 alone. They are becoming increasingly renowned for their taste for luxury experiences and brands, which adds another dynamic to the African tourism market.
Africa has certainly ensured that it is accommodating for the more discerning visitor looking for a holiday with a difference, and there is an array of rich and unforgettable options available, including high-end honeymoon destinations and rich adventure experiences.
However, one type of holiday that has long been popular with the high-end traveller is the bespoke luxury African safari, which has continued to grow in popularity amongst the more-discerning traveller in search of a holiday with a difference.
If you are looking for a high-end holiday to treasure for a lifetime, then experiencing an Africa safari from the sky should most certainly be on the bucket list of the luxury traveller. Take a look below for the key safari destinations that have been consistently growing in popularity in recent years.
Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
The Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest and most-biologically-diverse national park and is even a UESCO World Heritage Site. The park boasts a vast amount of grassland, infused with swathes of forest, volcanic mountains and stunning lakes to ensure that is one of the most striking African landscapes.
The park is located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and was originally founded by King Albert of Belgium as a way of protecting the majestic mountain gorilla population that the area is now renowned for.
The Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Ethiopia offers the traveller a variety of ecologically distinct areas, including luscious lowlands and epic mountains that serve to captivate the visitor time and time again. The country’s highest peaks, the Simien Mountains, are 4,543 meters high are also a designated World Heritage Site. The mountains consist of plateaus separated by valleys that rise to pinnacles and are home to animals including the walia ibex, gelada and the caracal.
It is possible to take a helicopter tour and get a spectacular view of the landscape by flying out of the capital Addis Ababa and over some of the most stunning towns, including Laibela in northern Ethiopia, where there are spectacular churches crafted out of rock that are an exceptional testimony to medieval and post-medieval Ethiopia.
You can then follow the course of the Tekeze River before continuing onto the Simiens, providing you with an unforgettable experience.
Tour of the Cape Peninsular, South Africa
While South Africa has long been a popular destination for tourists, it is currently seen as having huge growth potential over the next five years in terms of attracting new visitors from around the world for both work and pleasure. However, while it is currently doing more to attract large corporations and businesses to host conferences and events, South Africa has long been an immensely popular safari destination, and is an ideal location for those looking to go on their first safari adventure.
A great starting point is to take a helicopter tour over the Cape Peninsular to take in all of the region’s landmarks from the sky, including Robben Island, Table Mountain and Cape Point Nature Reserve before heading out to the Cape Point cliffs.
Once you have flown over this captivating coastline, you will be presented with the vineyards of Constantia before resuming your journey back to the waterfront in Cape Town.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Victoria Falls is known in numerous languages as The Smoke That Thunders and is regarded as one of the most immense and impressive waterfalls on the planet, so much so that it is considered to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
The Smoke That Thunders is an incredibly apt name for a 354-foot waterfall that produces such a variety of thunderous sounds that is deafening upon approach. During the rainy season, the waterfall is submerged into an eerie mist and is mostly obscured due to large clouds. It goes without saying the optimal time to visit Victoria Falls is during the dry period as it enables one to experience the sheer magnitude it has to offer from the sky and get the most out of the experience.
The flight that takes you over Victoria Falls has been nicknamed the Flight of the Angels, and when you are soaring from this majestic landmark you will fully understand why; any luxury traveller wishing to experience one of our planet’s most beautiful and natural wonders really should not miss out on this once in a lifetime experience.